Antigua: Dialysis patient defends protesting nurses

Longtime dialysis patient Fitzroy Samuel has come out in defense of nurses taking industrial action at the dialysis unit of the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC).

Samuel who has been on dialysis for over 10 years said the nurses are being unfairly accused of putting the lives of patients at risk with their action and that they should resume regular operation.

He said he is confident that the nurses are doing all that they can with the “little resources,” and they should be applauded for their efforts.

“The nurses treat us like a brother, sister and cousin. From the time I have been on dialysis and I have seen nurses weep over patients when they died and sometimes the nurses can’t do anymore. We are short of nurses. In other countries like Jamaica, Guyana, and Cuba every patient is assigned to a nurse, but, not here,” he said.

Since June 26, nurses have been on a go slow while they seek resolve to their grievances that include inadequate staff to deal with the high number of patients, who need to receive the three-times-weekly treatment.

The president of the Nurses Association, Karen Josiah earlier said that the nurses from the unit have been complaining to the authorities for some time to no avail.

There are over 90 patients receiving dialysis, and a total of 16 nurses are dialysing 44 patients each day.

Each patient requires minimum dialysis of three days per week, however, due to lack of sufficient staff that figure has been reduced to two days a week.

Last week, the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph, said he had given instructions that the matter be urgently addressed and there should be a resolution in the coming days.

Members of the public complained that the nurses should return to work before their issues are resolved because they are putting their patients’ lives at risk.

But the patient Samuel said he has listened in disappointment at the public’s reaction to the nurses’ plight.

Samuel posited that the nurses are human with feelings and they have earned the authority to stand up for their rights.

The Follies resident said he is now down from three times per week for three hours to twice weekly for four hours.

The clinical purification of blood by dialysis is a substitute for the normal function of the kidneys.

Antigua Observer

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